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Comment Wouldn't have monoculture without GMO fears (Score 1) 358

replace monocrop orchards with polyculture farms

The ironic thing if scare-mongerers like you were not drumming up fear of GMO foods, every orchard would probably have many different varieties of even a single crop, each with a different GMO variant to test out some new flavor or ability.

GMO fears are what is leading to monoculture, because you are blocking scientific progress on any possible changes that can be made to food crops.

Comment "improperly tested" (Score 2) 358

"new and improperly tested food"

What the hell does that mean?

New GMO food is tested out the wazoo. Existing GMO food has been tested now by hundreds of millions of people with no ill effect.

The jury is in, has gone home, and written the tell-all book. GMO food is safe and it's madness not to support making food safer and healthier in this way.

Comment Re:Perhaps some Gibson, or Effinger, or Moran? (Score 1) 140

Neuromancer is ideal science fiction. It investigates how technology has and might effect the way we live. Unlike the classic and wonderful pulp books, if does not have many of the assumption of the 40's and 50's.

The Difference Engine, although a bit racy, would lead to wonderful discussion about ideas, production, and mass production of technology. Why was the difference engine never built? What were the technological innovation that allowed the Enigma machine to be produced in quantity, the digital computer to be developed, and then mass market components to be produced. What were the technological developments that let us use incredibly wasteful higher level languages instead of flipping switches or assembly?

Virtual Light and that trilogy allows a more contemporary view of how technology effects our privacy, and how our dependency on technology means that we may know less than we think.

A more straightforward look at technology and privacy and security is Bruce Schneier Liers and Outliers, Certainly suitable for the upper level students. Unlike the other books which I would assign outside of class and then use the topic to drive discussion, this book might be used in class. Break it up into reporting groups that would then lead discussions based on what they read and researched.

Also, Dr. John Lienhard has a series of radio programs called Engines of Our Ingenuity. Which this is a broader selection that what is called for here, there are many engaging selections that would apply. There are programs on the difference engine, Lady Ada, the census computer, Turing, and others.

Comment Re:Any Ideas? (Score 4, Insightful) 65

It's obviously quite highly subsidized. At $35 for the Chromecast and 3 months of free Netflix (even with an existing account), the cost to existing Netflix subscribers is about $11. They are planning on making money from renting/selling movies on Google Play store, and probably more money through affiliate programs sending new customers to Netflix and other programs that will probably be on there in the future like Hulu and Amazon Prime. If everybody just buys them and installs another OS on them, they won't make much money. With the phones, tablets, and chromebooks, they are selling them above cost price, so they don't have to make up the difference by people renting movies and such.

Comment Re:How is this news? (Score 1) 176

Okay, here's the deal. You have until your 30th birthday to fully fund a retirement account that must last until you turn 95. If you can't, you must declare bankruptcy and lose everything. Sound fair?

Why the hell did this get modded insightful?

Although the USPS pension mandate doesn't compare well to an individual's finances (for the simple reason that we can at least hold people accountable for their own failures to plan for retirement), you can still make a much, much better analogy than the drivel you posted.

As a better analogy, take someone who made damned good money all their life, and pissed away every penny of it without a single long-term asset to show for it (my generation calls them "boomers"). Now, ten years from retirement, the work doesn't come in as often as it used to, it pays a lower margin than back in the glory-days, and they honestly don't have the energy to work like a mule as in their youth anyway. And now, they suddenly look ahead and realize the need to seriously start saving or their retirement will consist of living in a cardboard box and eating cat-food.

Unfunded pension liabilities don't count as some BS government-imposed surprise expense; they build us as a basic cost of having employees, and very much count as "already spent" before-the-fact. The only "surprise" in this situation comes from the government finally realizing that all these parasitic businesses going under and passing that particular bill on to Uncle Sam, needs to stop ASAP.

Unfunded pensions mean that thousands of Detroit police and firemen, after putting in their 40 in a goddamned warzone and thinking they had planned appropriately for retirement - Will now get to eat cat food for the last 20-30 years of their lives.

Comment Re: nature and consumers (Score 5, Insightful) 358

Show many ANY time in nature where plants have modified themselves with ANIMALS and FISH and then and ONLY then will I buy your bullshit, because in case you ain't been keeping up on current events they have been mixing everything from starfish to grasshopper into plants to increase yields and make them grow larger.

Happens all the time between animal and bacterial species when viruses attack, and to a lesser degree with plants. A virus damages the DNA of the cell, and brings with it DNA from whatever animal or plant produced it. And there are other mechanisms that can produce similar results. See Horizontal Gene Transfer for more info.

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